We round up top Dubai bars for a pint of craft hops
1 Axe House If you’re a regular to JLT, the chances are you’ve been to, or at the very least heard of, Axe House. It’s an edgy, urban, sort of hipster bar based on East London (where else?), with a wide range of craft hops to choose from. With great music, a pool table, an air hockey table, live sports and a bargain ladies’ night, there’s a lot going on here. Open Sun-Fri noon-2am; Sat 10am-2am. Armada BlueBay Hotel, Cluster P, JLT (04 399 9577).
2 Belgian Café This place is something of an institution in Dubai and while it obviously excels with a range of Belgian hops on offer, you can go all-in on a Friday and get involved with the BBC Brunch. For Dhs245 per person you can get a range of platters, à la carte mains and three hours of unlimited Belgian craft brews, when heading to brunch between noon and 4pm. Open Sat-Wed 11am-2am; Thu-Fri 11am-3am. Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights (04 429 9999).
3 Black Tap If you like to have an almost infeasible array of craft hops from which to choose, with the names graffiti-ed on the walls, and accompanied by some cracking East Coast hip-hop tunes, then Black Tap is the place for you. This top-notch bar has a terrace that overlooks the waterways of the Madinat Jumeirah, some monster burgers if you get peckish, and dozens of hops to sample. And don’t get us started on the supersized freakshakes. Open daily 11.30am-12.30am. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Umm Suqeim (04 422 9904).
4 Le Petit Belge Ever been to Belgium? It doesn’t matter, because Le Petit Belge is, as the name suggests, a perfect encapsulation of Europe’s smallest country. With bitterballen, cheese croquettes, moules frites, and waffles on the food menu, the drinks menu is populated with an unbelievable choice of craft Belgian hops, and keeps a select bunch ready for rotation with regular promotions available. And you’re not a JLTer until you’ve been here on ladies’ day, it’s slammed, and brilliant. Open Sun-Thu noon-2am; Fri-Sat noon-3am. Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster T, JLT (04 242 7794).
5 Loca Fans of Mexican grub and craft hops, rejoice, because this fantastic street food bar and restaurant has just given you a reason to celebrate Mondays. Antojitos Mondays at Loca now dish up four-and-a-half hours of unlimited craft hops (and grape, we suppose) with light Mexican bites for less than Dhs200 per person. With cracking views of the beach and lively music, this is a deal that you don’t want to miss. There are even kegs at the tables. Open daily noon-2am. Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 346 1111).
6 The Eloquent Elephant This charming little English gastropub sits at the higher end of the classy scale. Found in the Taj Dubai in Business Bay, you can expect to find some fantastic craft hops available behind the bar, and you’ll also be able to bag yourself some wonderfully inventive grub. It’s also one of a growing number of non-smoking bars in Dubai – bonus. Open Sun-Thu noon-2am; Fri-Sat 11am-3am. Taj Dubai, Business Bay (04 438 3100).
7 The Playhouse Having recently opened up in Al Jaddaf, this is a hip and happening little spot, with a mural of David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and other legendary musicians on the main wall. As well as globally-inspired street food on the menu, The Playhouse also serves up an extensive range of mixed drinks, malt beverages and, allegedly, its own in-house craft hops brew. With live music too, this is one spot you should go and check out. Open daily 6pm-3am. Gold State Hotel, Al Jaddaf (055 708 0909).
8 The Tap House This brilliant spot on the shores of the Palm, at Club Vista Mare, is now one of the best pubs on the island. Largely, in part, down to its mega selection of good hops – there’s even a selection of mixed drinks made from craft hops. Intriguing. There’s also a super-popular Friday brunch that runs during the afternoon and into the early evening, which is perfect during the not-summer months, decent grub and a tonne of screens for sport. Open daily noon-2am. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 514 3778).
9 Warehouse Home to one of the largest collections of hops in the city, Warehouse combines four bars, two restaurants, a grape cellar, a hops garden and more. Head here for Friday brunch and you will be thrust into one of the city’s top parties, or stop by during the week for one of its brilliant nightly deals, including ladies’ night, retro nights and more. You’re bound to find what you’re after at this fun-loving, well-stocked and popular bar and nightlife destination. Open daily noon-3am. Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Garhoud (04 550 9166).